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Poll: Americans Say Weather Is Getting Worse; Blame Global Warming

Damage from flooding seen near a gas station in Killington, Vermont following Hurricane Irene. Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A majority of Americans agree the weather has gotten lousier over the past couple of years, at least according to a new poll.

A survey conducted by the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication finds that 56 percent of those polled think the weather has gotten worse, with four in 10 saying that's not the case.

While most Americans, 64 percent, also think that global warming is occurring -- about the same as six months ago -- only half of that number believe that people contribute to the problem.

Probably more surprising is that just over two thirds either strongly or somewhat strongly agreed that climate change might have something to do with the record high temperatures that covered much of the country this summer.

Sixty percent also say climate change could be linked to the record snowfalls of last winter, with almost the same number suspecting this phenomenon was responsible for Hurricane Irene that struck the Northeast last August. Ironically, a handful of years ago, environmental crusaders were blaming winters in which there was relatively snow on global warming.

Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale climate change communication group, said it used to be that Americans thought global warming was something far off in the future but now they're "beginning to think that climate change actually may be affecting us right here in the U.S. here and now."

Still, the science, to paraphrase Al Gore, isn't settled when it comes to opinions on global warming: a 2010 Gallup poll stated that 48% of Americans believed that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated -- up from 31% in 1997, when Gallup posed that question for the first time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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